How to get people to work at your start-up when everyone else is hiring too

There’s clearly a hiring boom in Silicon Valley right now. And that’s a good thing. Engineers, devs, designers, directors, and growth hackers are all in demand right now.

We are in the golden age of tech. Big companies and small companies alike are all looking to hire from the same talent pool. So how do start-ups grasp at the big fish when you have Google and Facebook fishing in the same pond? Where do you start when it comes to recruiting? How do you make yourself stand out to candidates?

Before we get to that you must understand what recruiting is exactly and how it differs in the start-up world.

Okay fine, so what is recruiting?

According to, the recruitment “process” includes analyzing the requirements of a job, attracting employees to that job, screening and selecting applicants, hiring, and integrating the new employee into the organization.

Recruiting is vital companies of all sizes but even more important to start-ups looking to get their feet off the ground. Why? Because start-ups live and die by their hiring decisions. Hire the right team and you could get yourself knocking on the IPO door, but hire the wrong team, and you’re looking at a fire sale.

One could argue that there is an intense skills shortage created by the “start-up” explosion and it’s harder than ever to get top-tier talent in the door let alone on the phone. Coupled with the Big Five looking to hire as well (Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft) it’s an uphill battle to hire top-level candidates. But don’t let that discourage you.

In order to successfully drive candidates to your company and continue to build a robust recruiting machine, you need to rely on methods outside of traditional hiring.

You have to think outside of the box.

Assemble the right team.

Remember the expression “you’re only as strong as your weakest link” — well, in recruiting for a start-up it stands true. If your company is small and just starting out it can prove difficult to build a recruitment team within your existing staff. Even if you have enough manpower to divide the load, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page and not only cares about the company and hiring the right person but also can dedicate time to the initiative.

Don’t just spread out hiring responsibilities to random folks in the office, try to assemble a team of individuals who can focus part of their time on hiring, recruiting processes, and what it takes to connect and land candidates. It’s ideal that each person on the hiring team has a vested interest in the company and seeing the company succeed.

The team should also be well-rounded with different types of personalities. You want the team members to help potential candidates see the diversity and culture within the company. It can also help candidates understand varying viewpoints from different people within the company.

For example, say your recruitment team consists of an HR manager, a product manager, an engineering lead, and a creative lead. What the HR manager can share with the candidate about the company will vary from what the creative lead might. It helps to have several viewpoints available to the candidate so they can get a better feel for the company and the culture.

To the same effect, what the engineering lead may see in a candidate will vary greatly from what the other team members might see. This could provide a checks and balances method for recruiting.

If you aren’t at the size or stage to build a recruitment team that’s okay too. There are many options available to those who can’t bring recruiting in-house quite yet.

Understand and Know Your Reach

Just because you are at a start-up does not mean you don’t have a presence or an appeal. It’d be silly to think you are at a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting just because you’re a start-up.

In fact, according to a recent Forbes article, most people would rather work at a start-up. For some candidates, being another worker bee on the conveyor belt isn’t for them.

Working at a start-up might be a high-risk high-reward game but it gives individuals the opportunity to own a lot of responsibility and potentially build something of value. That’s a big draw for many people coming into the workforce and those who are sick of the mundane 9–5.

Although your company may be so new that you don’t have a recognizable brand or product quite yet, you still have many recruiting advantages. The thrill that comes with creating something new can also bring easier roads to promotion, quicker wage increases, and the chance to make a difference in the world.

Use that and make it work for you.

Finding the “right” candidates

If you want to snag top-tier talent for your next job role then you need to do a bit of research first.

You need to understand:

Which contributing factors will attract them or turn them off to a company and/or a role?

Where might they hear about job openings? (Social media, referrals, etc.)

What criteria did they use to accept or reject a job in the past? (This can be a bit tricky to get.)

What drives them? (Career advancement, stability, pay, responsibility.)

How do they like to be contacted? Email, LinkedIn, phone?

All of this information should be part of your “profile deck” that you should be building on each person you are looking to recruit. You can’t begin to target people for roles until you understand them and what they are looking for.

Remember you could change someone’s life in a very monumental way. Recruiting and hiring a candidate isn’t a small order. A career can greatly alter someone’s life for the good (or the bad).

Make sure you do your research to ensure a great fit for the company and the candidate. Think of the IPO vs. the fire sale.

Own what makes you, you

With the start-up boom well underway it can be tricky to separate yourself from the pack and get the attention of top talent. Like I mentioned already, the Big Five are also hiring from the same pool of talent. You need to distinguish yourself and own what makes you unique.

If your product is what makes working at your start-up a can’t-miss opportunity then own that and run with it. If your employees rave about the culture and the work-life balance then make that your biggest selling point when writing job descriptions or speaking to potential candidates.

Find what makes your company different and shout it from the rooftops.

Wait, there’s more!

Hiring for your growing start-up isn’t something that should be taken lightly. You really need to do your home work. You need to know the ins and outs of hiring and what to avoid…cough 1099 recruiters cough cough.

Thankfully there’s a nice little PDF with all of this information available for you to download, print out, and stick on your company refrigerator.

Seriously it’s a real eBook and it’s completely free. So head over and get the eBook right now and start building your dream team.

Good luck!


All of these tips are just that tips, if not put to use. We know that it’s one thing to read the advice and another to put it into motion. But don’t worry that’s Project Coretechs exists.

Project CoreTechs offers a recruitment solution that provides you and your company with your own dedicated recruiters, recruitment management, job boards and tools, and the utmost flexibility. We will grow with your company as your scale and grow.

With over 20 years of staffing and recruitment expertise, we understand what it takes to do be a successful recruiter. We know the metrics — how many phone calls should a recruiter make, how many emails sent, how many interviews set up and how many placements per recruiter per month. We will ensure each recruiter is on task and doing what is needed to be successful.

The search for your next recruiting firm is over. Let’s start a conversation.

Visit for more information.